When it comes to producing video content – or any type of content, for that matter – there exists a long-lasting debate: which is better, short-form or long-form?
At Blueprint Film, our team has experience producing branded videos as short as 15 seconds and as long as 17 minutes. The video length that works best for you depends on a range of factors. These include which platforms you want to post on, and what you want to achieve with your video marketing content.
In this post, we explain what marketers mean by long-form, short-form and snackable videos, the video length requirements for different platforms, and which type works best according to your marketing goal.
Defining short-form & long-form video
Long-form video content refers to videos that are over 10 minutes in length. Examples include webinars, brand films and video podcasts.
Short-form video content refers to any video content that is under 10 minutes in length. Examples include video adverts and trailers.
Snackable video content refers to video content that is under 1 minute in length. Examples include Stories, TikTok videos and Instagram Reels.
Allows long-form content:
YouTube: max 15 minutes (non-verified accounts) or 12 hours (verified accounts)
Facebook: max 240 mins
Vimeo: no max length
Pinterest: max 15 mins
Allows short-form content:
Twitter: max 140 seconds (or 2 mins 20 secs)
LinkedIn: max 10 minutes
TikTok: max 10 minutes
Snackable content only:
Facebook & Instagram Reels: max 60 seconds
FB Stories: max 20 seconds
IG Stories: max 15 seconds
YouTube Shorts: max 60 seconds
Which is more popular right now?
With the popularity of short-form/snackable video content platforms like TikTok, Reels and YouTube Shorts, it can be easy to assume that this video format is king. But the story is more complex than that.
TikTok originally only allowed 15-30 second videos. But the platform has has been slowly increasing its maximum video upload length. In February 2022, TikTok announced it will now let users post videos of up to 10 minutes in length. Many have suggested that TikTok made this move to better compete with YouTube by moving into its territory of longer-form videos. How successful this move will be for TikTok is yet to be seen. But it suggests that long-form content still has something to offer.
Matching video lengths to marketing goals
Engagement: long-form videos
You might have seen headlines about social media causing our attention spans to shorten. But that does not explain the popularity of 3+ hour-long movies like Avengers: Endgame and Dune. People still have an appetite for engaging with long-form, immersive content.
A report from TwentyThree reveals that videos longer than 15 minutes account for 50%of all video engagement, but only 8% of all video content produced. Therefore, long-form video is an underused format for driving engagement.
Lead generation magnet: long-form
A lead magnet (or ‘gated content’) refers to a piece of content or a service that a brand gives away in return for gathering contact details. As a result, many marketers use lead magnets to generate leads. The lead magnet needs to provide enough value to the user to encourage them to take the time to fill out a form.
Educating consumers: long-form or short-form content
If you need to explain something complex, it will be difficult to try to cram it into a video under 60 seconds long. Instead, turn it into short-form or even long-form explainer video content. This will give you time to communicate information clearly and insightfully.
Clicks/CTR rate: short form
In an article for the Huffington Post, Jason Bercovici asked, “why produce a long video when you want people to click away rather than watch?” You don’t want to make viewers wait forever for that all-important call-to-action. But you need enough time to give viewers a reason to click through. That is why short-form videos are the best option for getting more clicks.
Brand visibility: short form or snackable
Short form and snackable videos are an easy way to boost the visibility of your brand on people’s feeds. It helps to remind your audience that you are present and active. This can include anything from a behind-the-scenes video on your story to a short video for a paid socials campaign. For instance, check out the 15 second advert we made for Ongosa:
Responding to trends: snackable content
In the digital world, the content trend cycle is getting shorter and shorter. By the time you’ve recorded and edited a 20-minute video on a topic, it may no longer be relevant! Snackable content allows you to move fast to engage with new trends as they appear.
Using short and long-form videos together
Your brand does not have to post only one type of video content. Indeed, the best results often come from using a mix of long-form, short-form and snackable video content. And sometimes, you can repurpose one piece of video content into different lengths. For example, companies that record lengthy webinars sometimes edit them into shorter highlight reel-style videos. Another option is to create short/snackable teasers or promos for long-form video content.